Man Booker Prize admits American literary works in global expansion

AFP-JIJI

Britain’s Man Booker Prize announced on Wednesday that it was expanding to cover all novels written in the English language, meaning American authors will be eligible for the first time.

The £50,000 ($80,000) Booker prize has until now been awarded annually for the best work of fiction by an author from Britain, Ireland or the Commonwealth.

“The expanded prize will recognize, celebrate and embrace authors writing in English, whether from Chicago, Sheffield or Shanghai,” said Jonathan Taylor, chairman of the Booker Prize Foundation.

The change will come into effect for the 2014 award.

Novels must still have been published in Britain and entered by their British publisher, Taylor said. The prize is awarded to a specific book, rather than an author.

Previous winners of the Booker, one of the world’s richest literary prizes, include English novelist Hilary Mantel, Australian author Peter Carey and the South African J.M. Coetzee.

The Booker has long held out from recognizing American authors, fearing that the powerful U.S. literary scene, backed by wealthy academia and creative writing programs, would swamp the output from the rest of the world.